additions… #47

…web design…

our wonderful CSS 3 future…

Support for various parts of CSS 3 is slowly growing across browser-land – at least it looks that way when we count out all known existing and future releases of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Many new and interesting CSS 3 selectors, rules and properties/values are already available to the web designers/developers, and the release of each new browser-version reveals and/or signals improved support.

For proficient web developers this is all good news, as we can now apply more efficient solutions to many design-challenges that were quite difficult to solve only a year or two ago. More powerful CSS can control a much leaner and more content-centered source-code, and more advanced designs tailored for the web can be realized.

Despite the progress, when one touches onto CSS 3 amongst web designers/developers these days, the responses are colored as much of frustration as of hope. Unless one is in the enviable position of being in control of all web design related processes and can make all decisions, improved support for CSS 3 brings next to nothing to web design.

Why is that!?

the problem with MSIE…

The problem is that we can't really count out MSIE, and when it comes to CSS 3 there's no signs of any improvements any time soon in that browser. IE8 will be released without support for any CSS 3 parts beyond what we can already find in IE6, and will even fall short of complete and unproblematic CSS 2.1 support.

In addition to the upcoming IE8 with all its weaknesses, IE7 and IE6 will be around in large numbers for years to come. Not much we can do about that, so we may as well show a happy face and play along.

These older and much weaker versions aren't really causing problems as long as we can apply the principle of “more or less graceful degradation” to them, but proficient web developers capable of drawing the lines are not always in charge. Result: MSIE will continue to block progress in web design.

the problem with web designers…

The problem is that most web designers are not web designers at all. They are print designers trying to port fixed brochure designs onto the web, while complaining that “the web isn't fixed enough” for their work. One can do nothing but agree that that is a problem – one that will never be solved.

“Must look the same everywhere” only applies when one is in charge of the entire process and the end-product. No problem when dealing with print design, but on the web one has no choice but to let go at a much earlier stage.

It is about time print designers adapted their work to the web, since the multi-media web neither can nor will adapt to print designers wishes to the degree they want. Print designers can't win over the fluent nature of web design across multiple media anyway, so they may as well join forces with us web designers instead of fighting us.

Print designers that insist on applying their own rules no matter what, will continue to block progress in web design. If we web designers/developers can't make them change, we either have to ignore them, or play along the best we can within the rules of multi-media web design.

the problem with clients…

The problem is that too many clients are ignorant and at the same time unwilling to accept that they are ignorant. The more ignorant they are, the more they seem to want to be in control of the final product and everything that goes with it, and the less willing they are to leave any decisions to those who know how the web works.

Obviously: a paying client has the right to define the final product. However, ignorance and unwillingness to listen to those who know better have never been a good base for defining anything – on or off the web.

There will always be problematic clients – the kind that blocks progress in web design. If we can afford to we may as well leave them behind and go in search of better ones. If that's not an option we just have to make the most out of it for ourselves, preferably without damaging the web more than we have to.

Maybe, if you run into a particularly problematic client, referring him to the 10 things a web designer would never tell… might help clear things up a bit Ha Ha

the problem with web designers/developers…

The problem is that too many web designers/developers give in to MSIE, print designers and ignorant clients and block progress at a “safe” distance from the edge. Makes sense to stay away from the edge at times, but it doesn't make much sense, and definitely isn't “safe”, to stay so far away from it that one doesn't know where the edge is.

Of course: the average, hired, web designer doesn't have much of a choice in his/hers day-to-day struggle for work and income. That one bends to the powers that pays ones bills is understandable, but sooner or later such constant bending will result in a permanent disability – one will end up being unable to deliver more even when required.

To avoid becoming an obsolete and redundant resource, a problem for one self and others in the field, web designers/developers have to spend time on learning new stuff and staying ahead. One literally has to :hover above and beyond the edge, :focus on progress, and get ones hands dirty with CSS 3 and HTML 5 and so on so one knows about, understands and master what tomorrow may bring – today.

Regardless of whether one can put ones knowledge to use today or not, any slow-down in ones own progress as web designer/developer will slow down progress across the entire field of web design. As web designers/developers we should at least try not to block ourselves…

applied pragmatism…

When it comes to handling the problems related to present and future web design, I recommend pragmatism. Nearly all problems are in the minds of our fellow humans, and we can't go around banging heads in order to fix them. “If you can't beat them, join them” – or at least make it appear as if you do. Appearance is important in all walks of life 

Whenever there's a chance to make some progress, one should make the most out of it and not allow oneself to be distracted by what oneself or others define as “the minimum necessary” or “good enough”. It is too easy to fall behind in this field and end up as just another nut on the assembly line. Pretty boring existence if you ask me.

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 02.feb.2009
last rev: 06.feb.2009


It is too easy to fall behind in this field and end up as just another nut on the assembly line.
— Georg